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Top Stories: As U.S. Supreme Court Enters Final Month Of Term, Texas Cases Linger

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The top local stories this morning from KERA News: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue an opinion in one or more cases at 9 a.m. CT.

Several cases with Texas ties remain on the docket: one concerning the state’s abortion restrictions, the other on UT Austin’s affirmative action program.

There’s a problem though – the Supreme Court only has eight judges. If there’s a tie vote, the lower court rulings remain in place, and no precedent is set.

“There are 34 states who do have a substitute justice procedure,” Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett said. “[It’s] a sort of judicial pinch-hitter procedure to avert or break ties.”

In Texas, governor can name a tie-breaking judge – even with prior knowledge of the case being considered. In other states, names are drawn from a pool of backup judges.

President Obama’s nominated Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, but Senate Republicans say they won’t consider any nominee until after the general election. 

Other stories this morning:

  • The Texas Attorney General’s office sent a cease-and-desist letter to a former staffer who claims the state canceled a lawsuit against Trump University.
  • In this edition of Vital Signs, we look at another form of drug abuse stemming from opioid addiction. A growing number of addicts are turning to anti-diarrhea medication like Imodium for a cheap high, but it comes with serious consequences.

You can listen to North Texas stories weekdays at 8:22 a.m. and 6:20 p.m. on KERA 90.1 FM.

Former KERA staffer Krystina Martinez was an assistant producer. She produced local content for Morning Edition and KERANews.org. She also produced The Friday Conversation, a weekly series of conversations with North Texas newsmakers. Krystina was also the backup newscaster for the Texas Standard.